At the beginning of this year, I decided to participate in the MIPRO 2018 conference. As I am still on my Ph.D. studies I have to actively participate in these types of conferences so I am trying to choose the ones that are near the place I live but also far enough to have something different. IEEE conferences bring credibility to these events so I try to choose the ones that are supported by this organization.

Besides the obvious scientific reasons, I chose MIPRO because: I got a good recommendation from colleagues and professors that participated in previous years and I have friends that live nearby and I never visited them.
Although the main focus of this conference is revolved around electronics they also had a section about software engineering so I decided to write a paper and join.

The main topic of my paper is revolved around one small part of my Ph.D. and I will talk about this in some future blog posts. This one is mostly about my experiences in Croatia. The conference was held in Opatija which is located at the north-west of Croatia on the Adriatic sea. Beautiful place according to the photos from Google. Rijeka is the closest big city and that happens to be the same city where my friends live, so it was perfect.

A trip from Novi Sad, Serbia (where I live) and Rijeka, Croatia lasted around 6 hours by car. Roads are good and the scenery was getting better as we were approaching our destination. I have to say that Rijeka looks impressive and beautiful at the same time. The entire city looks like a never ending park and even driving through these streets felt nicer than walking through the streets of many other cities I visited in the past. Of course, being located on the coast of the Adriatic sea just adds to the charm.

We were staying in Rijeka for 2 nights so our friends took us to see so many sights I forgot the name of most of them. We saw the beaches at Kostrena and the park that surrounds it. We also took a dive in the sea which is pretty cold in May but it was fun nevertheless. The city center has that old stone town vibe that is best to experience during the night with all of the cities street lights on. Nightlife in Rijeka is not so great I have to say, mostly restaurants and bars without any loud music or dancing. We found a few interesting places but it wasn’t anything close to Novi Sad or Belgrade. But the food in the restaurants is amazing. Whenever I visit a city located near the sea I try to eat as much local sea specials as I can, so this time wasn’t any different. After our tour around Rijeka, it was time to move to Opatija.

Although I am sure Opatija looks and feels a lot more interesting during the vacation season, in May it was plain boring. Nothing to see except hotels and casinos, an endless line of the same. Since I am not a fan of gambling and I like to explore the places I visit, my tour of Opatija was over pretty soon. And yeah, I didn’t mention how much more expensive it is compared to Rijeka. Also one of the main problems was that stores are rare since apparently nobody wants to cook on their vacation or eat anything outside of the hotel or restaurants so it was difficult to find one that is close enough that we don’t have to go there by car.

Since my presentation was on the second day of our stay in Opatija I decided to go as early as possible to catch as many other lectures and presentations as possible. As I’ve said that the main topics of the conference are revolved around electronics, software engineering part of the conference wasn’t as interesting as I expected but there were still a couple of good lectures, mostly from Ph.D. students from Zagreb. My presentation was over and there were some good questions, mostly about the applications of the proposed solution (but more about that later). I had a few interesting talks with the people from the IT industry from Croatia and with some professors and Ph.D. students from Zagreb. Lecture day was ending around 18:00 so I decided it was a good time to rest after that.

Next few days I used to visit a couple of other interesting lectures but also to explore cities around me so we visited Rovinj and the island of Krk. Small towns but they were definitely worthwhile exploring. I think I said already that the food was awesome! Also, the hospitality of the people there is remarkable.

As this wasn’t a tour guide of Rijeka and Opatija, but just a short note of my experiences there, I have to conclude that I will definitely come back, but next time I will probably stay in Rijeka and use it as my base of operations. As to how these things always go, days went by pretty fast and it was time to go back to reality. Until next time Croatia!